Reading and wellbeing
In 2021, Christine Ramsey-Wade, Samuel Rogers, David Greenham, and Nicola Holt led a project called “Close Reading, Open Minds: Literature for Health and Wellbeing”. This received a cross-faculty award through UWE’s “ACE–HAS Connecting Research” scheme. The researchers organized a virtual symposium, aiming to establish a network of collaborators between arts and science disciplines. The event was designed with the following broad aims in mind:
Distinguishing different types of reading as a measurable factor in health and wellbeing;
Examining kinds of psychological attention in reading, including mindfulness and flow states;
Exploring literary form/technique in wellbeing contexts.
An eighteen-page report of findings and next steps is available to read here.
Follow-up projects include “The Wellbeing Value of Poetry: An Empirical Literary Analysis”, led by Samuel Rogers and funded by a Vice Chancellor’s ECR award. This project undertakes a pilot study of reading and health among university students. The project uses a mixture of mainstream and modernist texts from twentieth-century British poets, beginning to explore whether specific forms or styles of poetry have measurable differences in health value.